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May 3 "China Past and Present" with Professor Bill Johnson, George Washington University (Retired).

Dr. Johnson provided an overview of Chinese history, identifying several traditions which have guided China's development. Beginning in imperial times, Dr. Johnson discussed the gentry class and the penetration of centralized bureaucracy. Unlike in Europe, he said, China's gentry was not tied to the land, rather they were tied to the state through the civil service examinations. Dr. Johnson also identified two key Confucian values, harmony and filial piety, which he believes are linked with the present day character of Chinese society. These values, Dr. Johnson contended, help explain modern day beliefs, such as Jiang Zemin's theory of "peaceful coexistence." Professor Johnson also identified the issue of national security as a prominent concern of Chinese intellectuals during the 19th and 20th centuries. Their desire for a "strong state, wealthy nation" has been an influential factor shaping every major develop in China's history up to the present, he said. Dr. Johnson also addressed the topic of democracy, calling attention to the democratic strain of the 1911 revolution, and its importance in the eyes of Chinese students studying in Japan at the time. He also noted, however, that this democratic tradition was eclipsed during later years, as nationalism moved to the forefront. Dr. Johnson ended by declaring that the future of China is open, and that America's behavior can be influential in shaping that future.
 
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